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Old 04-02-2015, 04:59 PM   #1
JuniperSprouts
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Smile Blindly Installing *nix for an Amateur


My knowledge & even potential are not very good, to be honest. I have Debian running as a server at home. I rent a dedicated server (wicked cheap) for backup & web experimenting (it too runs Debian). Having said that, I am trying to install Debian on a different system which I hope to be my new home server.
It is a Dell Inspiron 2020 AIO. I just have the motherboard & internal components. I have no LCD connector or screen. It has no video-out capability (no VGA/DVI/DP/etc). Obviously, I can not see anything when it boots. It has two SATA ports on the motherboard. I do not know if it supports booting over USB (I assume it does). PXE, I do not know.

Is there a project somewhere that offers ISOs (or SIMPLE scripts/configs/etc to make your own). I would love an automagic ISO that will do:
1. base/headless installation of Debian x64
2. any repository (Georgia Tech would be great)
3. Automatic partitioning (one for / and one for Swap, at 2x RAM (8GB partition))
4. root/toor preconfigured
5. Open-ssh, so that I can actually finally "see" what I am doing.

Is there a mouse-jockey idiot way that I can do this without being able to see anything?

I have found info on FAI & various install wrappers. They are immensely complicated to someone like me. I was wondering if there exists a simple solution. Perhaps a project I can not find through websearching?

It does not have to be Debian. I am just more accustomed to Debian. I have played with Slackware, Arch, Centos, Red Hat, Fedora, Suse, TinyCoreLinux, PuppyOS, DSL, Knoppix, FreeBSD, NetBSD, PC-BSD, OpenBSD, and more.


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Last edited by JuniperSprouts; 04-02-2015 at 05:07 PM.
 
Old 04-02-2015, 05:10 PM   #2
suicidaleggroll
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I do not know of any way to install a "normal" distro, Linux or otherwise, without some kind of KVM interface...even a serial interface might do, but it would have to be at the BIOS level and the installer would have to support it.

You could try to hook up a keyboard and ethernet cable and blindly get it to boot a live distro from a USB, check your router DHCP list for the IP once it's up, and see if you can SSH in. If you can manage to do that, you could install a VNC server and then run through the graphical installation in the live session to install it to the hard drive.

You could also use a different computer to install the distro to the hard drive, then plug it into the Dell mobo and cross your fingers.

Last edited by suicidaleggroll; 04-02-2015 at 05:14 PM.
 
Old 04-02-2015, 06:12 PM   #3
michaelk
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Without knowing anything about the BIOS boot settings I might try installing via another computer first. You can then configure ssh etc. Hopefully if you delete the udev network rules the AIO's ethernet adapter will be picked up. debian or CentOS would be my choices.
 
Old 04-02-2015, 09:52 PM   #4
jlinkels
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Take out the hard disk, plug it into a mainboard which supports video, and install. Once it finished installing plug the disk back in your Dell.

I don't see a reason why it should not work. Only if the DELL does not recognize the hard disk the same as on the other mainboard you have a problem. That is, on both boards the hard disk should be /dev/sda.

I don't know what installer you use, but don't forget to enable SSH, and enable root access to SSH before putting the hard disk back.

jlinkels
 
Old 04-03-2015, 12:00 AM   #5
JuniperSprouts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlinkels View Post
Take out the hard disk, plug it into a mainboard which supports video, and install. Once it finished installing plug the disk back in your Dell.

I don't see a reason why it should not work. Only if the DELL does not recognize the hard disk the same as on the other mainboard you have a problem. That is, on both boards the hard disk should be /dev/sda.

I don't know what installer you use, but don't forget to enable SSH, and enable root access to SSH before putting the hard disk back.

jlinkels
What you are saying sounds cuckaloo (The different controllers & chipsets & CPU will boot OK?). But, what do I know. I'll try it.

Last edited by JuniperSprouts; 04-03-2015 at 01:15 PM. Reason: typo
 
Old 04-03-2015, 12:22 AM   #6
EDDY1
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I would say that if you boot the machine & have access to the router, that it would default to pxe boot & request an address from the router, which should be recorded by the router.
I will also say that I haven't tried it before.
 
Old 04-03-2015, 07:31 AM   #7
jlinkels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JuniperSprouts View Post
What you are saying sound cuckaloo (The different controllers & chipsets & CPU will boot OK?). But, what do I know. I'll try it.
What does that expression (sound cuckaloo) mean?

Yes it will work despite of different controllers. I have made copies of installations from AMD/VIA to Atom/Intel mainboards. However, you should make sure you don try to boot a 64-bits installation and 32-bits hardware. So install 32-bits to be safe. And (again): on boath mainboards the disks must be seen as /dev/sda.

jlinkels
 
Old 04-03-2015, 08:07 AM   #8
rtmistler
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Something auto-magic as you call it. (And it's a word I've used in the past, so do not think I criticize at all )

The only way I've seen that is where someone or a team of someone's has created a highly specific install disk for a given platform, mainly for production. I.e. you have a computer where you need to install the same stuff all the time because it's a product. There is however some form of testing where they'll run that product through it's paces. Similar to you needing/wanting to plug in, leave it installing for some time, then restart and just use it as your server.

That all being said, the development of that process is done where you can see a terminal, can interact with the system. It's done that way to get it right, debug the steps along the way, so that they can finally perform that process in headless form.

And then many times, the process is NOT done in headless form. I.e. the manufacturing setup where they program, they do hook up a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, they like just have a setup there and plug in the main machine, plug in a thumbstick or DVD, let it rip and view the progress on the monitor, or at least view that the process starts running, continues to run, and then eventually completes and shows "normal" outcome on the screen. This is to save time and headaches, plus if something does go wrong, they'll have a log where they can send it to the R&D team for review.

So it's very possible, less worth your effort. Why can't you just add a monitor, keyboard, mouse temporarily for now? Didn't look to deeply at the MB, but it doesn't have video output?
 
Old 04-03-2015, 08:18 AM   #9
suicidaleggroll
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtmistler View Post
Why can't you just add a monitor, keyboard, mouse temporarily for now? Didn't look to deeply at the MB, but it doesn't have video output?
It's the mobo from an all-in-one system. The video output is on a proprietary ribbon cable that goes straight to the integrated LCD, which he does not have.
 
Old 04-03-2015, 08:22 AM   #10
rtmistler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suicidaleggroll View Post
It's the mobo from an all-in-one system. The video output is on a proprietary ribbon cable that goes straight to the integrated LCD, which he does not have.
What about a serial console?
 
Old 04-03-2015, 09:08 AM   #11
suicidaleggroll
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It could work, but I doubt it has one at the BIOS level - I've never seen a "desktop" PC that does.
 
  


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